Edition Updated August 2018

Teenagers often do not get the health care they need. Decades of research shows that a major barrier is adolescents’ fear that health care providers will disclose confidential information to parents or guardians. In many circumstances, however, the law allows teens to obtain medical treatment without parents’ involvement or knowledge, including reproductive or mental health care.

Teenagers, Health Care, and the Law explains teenagers’ rights to make their own medical decisions under New York State and federal law. It is designed to be an aid to minors and professionals who work with young people, such as social workers, counselors, teachers, and medical providers. Teenagers, Health Care, and the Law is currently available for download in English, with an updated Spanish version forthcoming.

Physical copies of the English version will be available for order online in early September 2018. Los Cuidados de Salud de los Adolescentes y la Ley is available for download below.

Note to mental health care practitioners: Minors have the right to consent to confidential mental health care provided by practitioners located in facilities licensed by the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) (N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law § 33.21(c); 14 N.Y.C.R.R. § 587.7(a) (3)(iii)). The ability of minors to consent to confidential mental health care under the public health law in non-OMH facilities is currently unresolved. Therefore, mental health professionals practicing outside of any setting not licensed or certified by OMH, should contact an attorney to discuss confidential mental health treatment for a minor patient.

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